Walking In South Africa

I among others in the western world am accustomed to hopping in the car and driving to the store every day. Do I need groceries? Get in the car. Oh I forgot the flour…get in the car.

What if you don’t have a car? What if public transportation is unreliable or not there at all? You can hitch a ride, call a friend or you can walk. In Africa, people walk. They don’t just walk around the corner, they walk a long ways. Sometimes they walk with babies on their backs. Other times they are carrying huge amounts of whatever on their heads. And they push wheelbarrows. The wheelbarrows are seldom empty. It appears that they walk with their supplies for work in the wheelbarrows. Today I saw a man walking with a garbage can that had wheels on it, all his supplies were inside.

When school is out, it is not unusual to meet up with groups of waving, uniformed children as they walk up and down hill, for a distance, to get home in the afternoon. How did they arrive at school? I believe they walked.

Rarely do you see any of these people walking alone. They walk with one or more. I imagine the conversations help them move along. Once in a while they put out their hand for a passing car. The car doesn’t stop, just keep walking.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have been in the middle of extremely rural Africa and there will be someone walking along the road.

They are dressed for winter. They are bundled up. If the wind is blowing and the temperatures are chilly the women are wrapped in blankets walking down the street. Their arms might be free but the colorful blankets are wrapped around their torso or waist, keeping them warm on chilly mornings.

 

They walk to work. They walk to the market. They walk to the medical clinics. And, often they walk to an unknown destination. I have said to my friend Phyllis, that a day would not be complete without seeing someone walking down the road. Every day we have seen someone walking. I kid  you not.

Today Phyllis and I decided to join in and walked to town.